Marianne Wilde (AHRC BGP PhD, Northumbria University)

Seeing and Saying: Making the Invisible Visible

Since the discovery of 'the secret of life' by James Watson and Francis Crick on 28th February 1953, we have been developing both linguistic and pictorial ways of how to communicate our understanding of DNA. These forms of communication have, and are still, being developed by scientists, writers, artists and indeed the general public. The use of linguistic metaphors is commonplace when interpreting the how, what, why and where of DNA and the Double Helix structure is often how we see this thing that is our blueprint, our map.

The research is focussed around a group of Neuromuscular diseases that are caused by a genetic mutation within a person's DNA and my current studio practice involves combining historic photographs of medical portraiture with diagnostic images produced in a bioscience laboratory to attempt to create art 'objects' that represents what is, in essence, invisible. Through visualising and physically making interpretations of this kind of metaphorical communication I hope to be able to articulate a discourse between the seeing and the saying and engaging with the idea put forward by Roland Barthes in Camera Lucida that:

'The photograph is always invisible it is not it that we see'. (Barthes, 1993)

Research conference presentation (32mb PDF)